This study aims to improve and further develop our understanding of the pelagic ecosystems along the West Greenlandic continental shelf by collecting new and essential data about the marine ecosystem. The project will also establish standard protocols for pelagic studies within the scope of the annual Greenlandic national fishery surveys. These efforts will supplement existing species-specific surveys with vital data and knowledge on the structure, function and productivity of the pelagic ecosystem. Thus, the productivity of the plankton community supporting the marine food web and the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels, such as fish, seabirds and mammals, are essential parameters, along with an advanced understanding of how plankton interacts with the environment. The program will utilize inactive ship time for new sampling and conduct on-board laboratory experiments during active periods, thereby improving the output of established survey cruises.
This project will provide a necessary step toward a complete ecosystem understanding and survey protocol together with the existing fishery surveys and monitoring of benthic communities along the West Greenlandic continental shelf areas. These areas support some of the most important fisheries in Greenland, hence the urgent necessity of improving our understanding of these ecosystems. The project will also contribute important new and requested data on marine biodiversity and ecosystem function and productivity in conjunction with national and international collaborations, such as the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), a workgroup under the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the Arctic Council.